Notable projects of 2021: Latin America and the Caribbean

Nicolette Bohnett

With more than 220 LEED-certified projects and 300 newly registered projects in 2021 alone, Latin America and the Caribbean have no shortage of sustainable projects to feature. Below are just a few of the offices, communities, stores, airports, and more that committed to creating a healthier and more resilient region in 2021.

Healthcare facilities

Mutual CChC CAM Providencia, also known as the Mutual de Securidad Service Center for the Chilean Chamber of Construction, became the first health care project to be LEED certified in Chile. The project team focused particularly on ventilation, filtration and air exchange to make this facility safe and comfortable for patients and staff.

Mexico certified four hospitals: Hospital IMSS AtlacomulcoHospital General ISSSTE TlahuacHospital General ISSSTE TepicIMSS Unidad de Medicina Familliar 15 Lindavista. These two hospital systems (private social security and for federal workers) provide health care for nearly 60% of the population of Mexico. To hear more about LEED certification for hospitals in Mexico, check out this webcast in Spanish from 2021. 

Office spaces and commercial buildings

Perkins & Will Monterrey Studio (featured above) achieved LEED Platinum for their LEED v4 IDC space – a showcase of excellence in sustainable design for Northern Mexico (and the largest of its kind in LATAM). The studio is the new home for their first office in Mexico for the design firm. 

In Ecuador, the office for the Delegation of the European Union to Ecuador has a new LEED Silver certified commercial interior space in Quito’s famous Torre 6, which was certified LEED Silver in 2018. Torre 6 was built by SEMAICA whose CEO Fernando Correa also serves as the new President of the Board for CEES, which became the official Green Building Council for Ecuador in 2021.

Péru has a new LEED Platinum project in Edificio Empresarial Conquistadores from developer Alpina Inmobiliaria who has committed to LEED certification for all of their projects. The CEO of GBCpe (Peru GBC) also noted that many consider this to be the best new corporate office building in the country setting a new high bar for the market.

Costa Rica has two new LEED Gold projects along their new Technological Corridor created by the national government. Torre Universal Torre 1 is the latest LEED certified commercial project from developer Portafolio Inmobiliario as part of their commitment to achieve LEED for all new commercial projects. Housed inside this LEED Core and Shell tower is the LEED Gold v4 Commercial Interiors office space for CINDE, the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, a non-profit organization dedicated to advising high-tech companies seeking to invest and establish business in Costa Rica.

Public Assembly & Government

In Sao Paulo, the new Museu da Língua Portuguesa or Museum of Portuguese Language is a LEED Silver v4 New Construction project. Originally constructed in 1946, the building retrofit incorporated 85% of the original wood and showcasing the beauty of integrating modern restoration techniques with the historic structure and materials.

The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda certified their first LEED project: SPPARE Interpretation Centre (featured above) achieved LEED Gold. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and managed by the Department of Environment with the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, this interpretation center will teach visitors about the ecosystem of the surrounding Mount Obama National Park.  

Chile’s Centro Judicial de La Serena achieved LEED Platinum certification. This project also has the distinction of being the second LEED Platinum certified building for this public institution, as well as their 10th LEED certified project.

The headquarters for the Agricultural Bank of Colombia, Edificio Direccion General Banco Agrario, achieved LEED Gold. This building has historical significance for Colombia as the first major steel structure in the country. During the renovation, 80% of the original building was preserved and reused. 

Multifamily Residential

Torre T.Op Obsipado, in Monterrey, Mexico is LEED Gold certified and has the distinction of being the tallest building in Latin America. This commercial tower (and neighboring residential tower) was designed to incorporate a high percentage of outdoor air with a customized filtration system that seeks to enhance human health and comfort in the semi-arid environment of Nuevo Leon.

Granat, developed by SUR Desarrollos in Guatemala, is an iconic project located in a priority development district for Guatemala City as a new center for technology, business accelerators, gastronomy, and creativity. This LEED Certified mixed-use project includes residential, hotel, office, and retail space and is notable for its focus on biophilic and bioclimatic solutions including natural ventilation, daylighting and integrated vertical planting and green roofs. 

Warehouses & Industrial Facilities

GLP of Brazil certified a total of eight warehouse and distribution centers under LEED v4 in 2021; seven are LEED Silver and one is LEED certified.

Prologis, a USGBC Leadership Award winner in 2020 in Mexico, certified four projects achieving LEED Silver under USGBC’s LEED Volume program, bringing their total to 35 LEED certified projects.

Grupo Vargas project located in Alajuela, Costa Rica achieved LEED ID+C Silver for their industrial manufacturing interior fit out. This Costa Rican company will utilize their new space to produce packaging and printable solutions for clients ranging from the food and beverage industry to medical devices and high-tech solutions producing medical devices and technology, as well as food and beverages. The building is mechanically ventilated but without air conditioning to reduce energy consumption and take advantage of Costa Rica’s excellent climate conditions. The space is also outfitted with MERV 13 filters for all outdoor fans to improve indoor air quality and environmental health for the occupants.

Higher Education

Universidad EAN in Bogotá achieved LEED Gold for their EAN Legacy building, a new construction project that features circular design and natural ventilation showcasing two major priorities for green building in Colombia. The shade structure for the building is called the WonderFrame, designed by William McDonough + Partners, is a perpetually reusable/recyclable structure that creates shade, allows for natural ventilation, daylighting and views, and creates a biophilic feeling of having the building be shaded by a large tree.

Universidad Del Norte in Atlántico on the northeast coast of Colombia, celebrated the opening and LEED Gold certification of their Casa De Estudio Alfredo Correa. The university’s School of Architecture, Urbanism and Design led the project as a sustainable, collaborative space for students to study and work together. 

Retail

Sicredi, a cooperative bank in Brazil, achieved LEED Gold for their retail space, Sicredi Evolucao Agencia Epitacio Pessoa. Located in the city of João Pessoa in the northeastern Brazilian state of Paraíba this project is noteworthy because it highlights the applicability of LEED outside of the major economic powerhouses of Brazil in the southern part of the country.

Ikea certified their first project in Mexico in 2021 with Ikea Oceania Mexico City. This LEED Gold v4 New Construction project was greeted with excitement in Mexico and across the region as one of the first promised Ikea stores for Latin America. The brand is partnering with USGBC Leadership Award-winner Fallabella of Chile to bring stores to Chile, Colombia, and Peru in the coming years.

In Santiago, Chile, Spanish bank Santander achieved LEED Silver for their Banco Santander Work Café Lo Barnechea in July. This retail space is a hybrid banking center and coffee house and co-working space that seeks to redefine integration in the community as well as delivering on the global goals for sustainable and LEED certified spaces. This is also the first bank in Chile to offer prime rate mortgage loans for LEED residential projects.

Brazil’s Grupo Madero, a 2021 USGBC Leadership Award winner, certified 26 new restaurants in 2021 alone, bringing their new total of certified projects to 79. And the team has already certified three new projects in January of 2022 alone!

Retailor Mercado Libre achieved LEED Gold for their project in Parque Patriocios, a high-priority development zone in the city of Buenos Aires. This commercial interior project was developed using biophilic criteria through natural patterns and elements, plantings, and balanced use of natural light.

Banca Empresa Lima Oeste is the latest project in Perú from Spanish bank BBVA. The LEED Gold certified office space reflects the bank’s larger commitment to green building.  BBVA has also launched a the first green mortgage program in Perú for LEED certified residential projects.

Retailer Makro (featured above) achieved LEED Gold certification for their retail store in Benavidez, Argentina. This retail store is the latest in the Makro portfolio. This global retailer has made a commitment to LEED certification for all new stores in South America.

Lastly, while this list features projects that achieved LEED certification in 2021, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that Sherwin-Williams of Central America added over 190 of their retail stores in Central America to the Arc platform in 2021 making the single largest commitment to date of any building owner to track building performance and ready their portfolio for LEED certification.

Cities and Communities

Cidade dos Lagos, a planned community near the city of Guarapuava in Brazil, is an excellent example of placemaking. This mixed-use community connects to the master plan for a university campus, a public hospital, existing retail, and shopping areas, as well as a center for research. The developer will be adding several residential units, including affordable housing, intermixed with public squares, green areas, bike paths, playgrounds, and recreational areas, and the five manmade lakes which give the neighborhood its name – the City of Lakes. This is the first project to achieve LEED for Communities in Brazil and is certified LEED Gold.

Bairro Camino is the first project to be pre-certified as a LEED platinum under LEED for Cities and Communities. Located in Porto Alegre, this community development is notable for the developer’s commitment to pursue LEED certification for 20 commercial buildings within the master site.  Residents and visitors alike will have access to a number of leisure spaces and green areas designed to support regular opportunities to be in nature and for physical activity to support health and wellbeing. The community also aims to be a smart city, providing state of the art monitoring of air quality, waste, water, and energy for the buildings on the site.

Two new projects in Colombia achieved precertification for LEED for Communities at the Gold level in 2021: Distrito Vera in Medellín and Arboleda del Zorro in Ibagué. Colombia now has the largest number of LEED for Communities certified and precertified projects in Latin America with a total of three projects. 

Historic Buildings*

Brazil’s Edificio Mundo Novo achieved LEED Platinum for this historic building located in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. This art deco style building is a Carioca Cultural Heritage site, was completely retrofitted for commercial use and certified in March.

In Peru, Crillon 3 is reported to be the first historic remodel of a historic building located in the heart of Lima and achieved LEED Gold certification. The original façade has been preserved with additional new office space added above, now managed by USGBC and GBCpe member Colliers.

Mexico’s Casa Abierta Monte (featured above) is the oldest building in Latin America (and likely in the world) to achieve LEED. Known as the Axayácatl palace, Hernán Cortés made the palace his official residence in the 16th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic building is considered one of Mexico City’s architectural gems.  Certified under LEED BD+C v4, this project is certified LEED Gold. Today it serves as a cultural center for Mexico City with retail space, arts space for concerts and special exhibitions, classrooms, meeting centers, and soon restaurant space.

Also noteworthy from Mexico City is the second re-certification of the Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento in Mexico City. Initially certified under LEED O+M in 2015, this historic building achieved LEED Recertification in 2018 and 2021. 

Airports*

Colombian airline Avianca achieved LEED Gold for their Centro Aeronautico in Antioquia, Medellín. Adjacent to the José María Córdova airport, this warehouse hosts a machinery workshop, hangar, and aeronautical material warehouse to service Avianca’s transportation fleet.

Aeropuerto El Dorado (featured above) in Bogotá achieved LEED Platinum under LEED O+M v4.1 making it the very first airport in the world to achieve LEED Platinum certification. As Colombia’s largest international airport, this project serves as an inspiration to airports across Latin America and around the world.

* These are categories of buildings not specifically tracked by USGBC/GBCI as a building typology.

 

Accessibility Tools